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: Politico reported that about 900 American soldiers will remain in Syria; To “continue to support and advise the Syrian Democratic Forces,” arguing that the latter is the most important partner in the war against ISIS.
This comes despite US President Joe Biden's steps to "end endless wars" by announcing the end of combat missions in Iraq, and with the continued withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is scheduled to end next September.
As for Syria, according to a senior official in the Biden administration, who declined to be identified, Washington does not intend to make any changes, currently, to the US military presence there.
And according to what “Politico” quoted, in its report, a defense official, this position, on the other hand, does not reflect the significant involvement of US forces in the combat operations in Syria.
In fact, according to him, “no American soldier has accompanied local forces on combat patrols for more than a year in Iraq or Syria.”
However, according to Politico, US forces in Syria have come under fire in recent weeks, as they were attacked in the Al-Omar oil field by a drone attack on July 7, and with missiles on June 28.
Those incidents were part of a series of attacks by Iranian-backed militias against Americans in both Iraq and Syria, which have intensified their efforts to drive the United States out of the region in recent months.
In the same context, and last year, Russian forces repeatedly incurred into “the territory controlled by the American forces” in eastern Syria, according to the report, as part of what officials described as a deliberate campaign to expel the American army from the region.
Amid the multiplicity of foreign interests in Syria, the US military mission there has broad ramifications that go far beyond fighting the Islamic State, experts say, and most importantly, providing a check on Russian and Iranian interests.
The report quotes Will Todman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as saying that the presence of US forces prevents the Russian-backed Syrian regime from accessing oil fields and agricultural resources in the northeast, and works to impede Iran's goal of creating a geographical corridor linking Tehran Lebanon and the Mediterranean.
"Maintaining the ability to disrupt Iranian efforts to transfer arms to Syria is an important part of the American presence there," Todman said.
According to Aaron Lund, a fellow at the Century Foundation, “there is no clean, safe, and uncontroversial way to leave, and Biden seems to have made it clear that he does not want to have to deal with unnecessary crises in Syria when he has bigger things on his plate.”
He added that there is an important difference between Iraq and Syria, which is that the local Syrian partner, which he said is the “Syrian Democratic Forces,” wants the United States to stay, partly as a guarantor against Russian attacks.
In Iraq, on the other hand, the US presence poses a political quandary for Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is facing pressure from Iran-linked factions in his government to force the United States to leave.
However, experts say that any significant change in the US military position in Iraq is likely to complicate the situation in Syria, especially since the main route for the United States to reach its forces in eastern Syria is through the border with Iraq.
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